Sunshine and Not-So-Organic Salads.

Hello! Once again..I apologize for my disappearing act. It may be something you might have to get used to it. I do have the intention of writing everyday or every other day and then I get distracted, or forget or simply get lazy and I HATE being LAZY. It is just something I am not that into unless I have a valid reason behind it.

Yesterday, for instance, I came home from a sweaty bikram yoga class to hide the freezing cold Christchurch weather.

Weather for Christchurch

5°C41 Fahrenheit

Current: Clear
Wind: NE at 6 km/h
Humidity: 100%

And all I wanted to do was stuff my face with one of my non-organic salads in my pretty red flower bowl and sit on the couch under the heater and watch movies when I got convinced to go on a run/walk through the port hills of Christchurch, which is in absolutely beautiful place and has many gorgeous views particularly when the sun is shining despite the chilly weather. Especially with good company and running buddies. I am so glad I went I think all I needed was some Vitamin D. I got a good dose.

I would like to discuss the benefits of organics and discuss the difference between organic and conventional farming. I think that understanding the benefits of organics is beneficial for a healthy future.

This article, thoughts and opinions is adapted from Tina Author of Carrots N’ Cake (www.carrotsncake.com)

Tina has just came back from an Organic Farming Trip that was sponsored by Stoneyfield where she got to visit local farms both organic and conventional and visit the Stoneyfield production facility and numerous local small farms in New Hampshire.

Here is what she had to say:

“ What does ‘organic’ really mean?

  • Natural methods of pest control
  • Low-levels of environmental pollution
  • No GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
  • Humane treatment of animals (i.e. access to outdoors)

If the ‘organic‘ label is used on food, it must meet the USDA organic standards, which include a number of key attributes:

  • Prohibits the use of toxic and persistent pesticides, antibiotics growth hormones, GMOs, sludge, and irradiation.
  • Requires a 3-year transition of land from non-organic to organic. This means the land on which the cows are raised must not have prohibited substances applied for 3 years prior. Cows must be fed and treated to meet organic standards (access to outdoors, 100% organic feed, etc.) for a full 12 months before their milk can be sold as organic.
  • Adheres to one of the three types of organic labels

There are  three types of organic labels, it turns out that the USDA has created 3 different levels of ‘organic’ for consumers:

  • 100% organic: Products are made entirely with certified organic ingredients and methods. These products can display the USDA organic seal.
  • Organic: Products with at least 95% organic ingredients can use the word ‘organic.’ These products can also display the USDA organic seal.
  • Made with organic ingredients:” Products that contain a minimum of 70% organic ingredients can be labeled “made with organic ingredients.” These products can display the logo of the certification body that approved them.

If products have less than 70% organic ingredients, they cannot advertise it as organic. But, they can mention that the product contains organic ingredients (if that is the case). For instance, a cereal “made with organic raisins.”

It is also a surprised that the label ‘natural‘  means absolutely nothing! Even though this label is often associated with having no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, etc., it’s not regulated by the US government, so it can be placed on pretty much any product. I had no idea! I thought the term at least meant something!

Organic Vs. Conventional

Topic: Cow Farming

Here is a view of conventional farming and  it is not intended  to bash conventional farming however I do want to identify the differences between organic vs. conventional farming.  It is a different way of looking at food and  my goal is to show you a contrast between organic and non-organic dairy-farming. The cows at the Parent Farm  (conventional) live in a free-stall barn, so they’re not tied up and can freely move around the space. The Parent farmers want to make their cows as comfortable as possible, so they use old tires, covered in sand, as bedding for their cows. The cows seemed to like this and a bunch of them were laying down on it.

Typically, conventional dairy farmers want to minimize the amount of activity that their cows get so they have plenty of energy to produce tons of milk. Basically, they want the cows to eat and make milk. Grazing in a pasture uses lots of energy, so it’s not ideal for conventional farming.

Another major difference between organic and conventional farming is how they treat their sick animals. Conventional cows are treated with antibiotics and returned to the herd. Antibiotics are not permitted in organic farming, so if a cow is treated with antibiotics, it must be removed from the farm permanently. Obviously, losing a cow is a major financial loss for the farmer, which is why they take such good care of their animals.

Conventional dairy cows eat corn silage (chopped fermented corn), which is sometimes mixed with haylage and grain. (The grain is usually made with corn and soy.) The Parent farmers (conventional)  use a nutritionist to figure out the exact amount of each to feed their cows.

At the Parent Farm, the haylage was pushed up against the inner wall of the free-stall, so the cows could just stick their heads out and eat as they pleased. The food is refreshed as needed.

The cows at Parent Family Farm are milked three times per day. (Organic cows are typically milked twice per day.)

The milking at Parent Farm pretty much never stops. The farm has 600 cows, it takes 5 – 6 minutes to milk each one, and the milking room holds 14 cows at a time, so the milking process continues day and night.

The cows at Parent Farm produce up to 110 pounds of milk per day. (Organic cows produce about 50 pounds.)

In nonorganic farms cows have “docked” tails on a number of cows at the Parent Farm. In conventional dairy-farming, the practice of tail docking is used to improve hygiene in the milking room. Cows sometimes poop while being milked, so a long tail basically makes a mess and a shortened tail is less likely to hit farmers in the face. It is very sad to see.”

And that’s that…what are your thoughts on organics? Personally, I do not always buy organically as it is quite pricey I wish I did and will now try to incorporate organic foods when I can. I have made a recent trip to my local organic market and picked up some organic spices, kumara, coriander (otherwise known as Cilantro)  and pears. It was delicious. With the spices I made a delicious batch of Quinoa and infused it with all my amazing organic spices. Tonight I sprinkled organic cinnamon over a baked organic kumara and not-so-organic pumpkin to make tonight’s pumpkin kumara tomato soup sprinkled with organic coriander. It was an ultimate.

I am extremely exhausted and  have had a lovely evening in with one of my not-so-organic salads in my beautiful red flower bowl that I seem to have an obsession with, if you can tell…

Pumpkin and Kumara Tomato Soup

steamy broc, tuna, quinoa, spinach salad.hot food+cold weather=steam

Seaweed salad with spinach, capsicum and tuna.SO YUM!

Smoked Salmon Salad on a bed of Spinach with peas, broc and sliced lemon

Green side salad shared before the best vegetarian pizza from Winnie Bagoes and a couple pints of cider.

I do have four of them that get used, often.

Goodnight and please consider buying locally and organically.

Ciao.

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